New Mexico is home to a lot of interesting museums. This includes a museum dedicated to extraterrestrials and gives you an out-of-this-world experience, including an immersive spot that makes other art exhibits look plain and normal. However, if you are enthralled by ballooning and want to learn more about it, then you should hurry over to Albuquerque International Balloon Museum!
There Are Many Amazing Things to See at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is a premier balloon museum that proudly displays the culture, art, science, history, sport, and spectacle of ballooning. Opened in 2005, this place houses the world’s finest collections of ballooning equipment and memorabilia. The location is fitting because it is in Albuquerque, which also happens to be the capital of ballooning. It is set on the edge of Balloon Fiesta Park and becomes a focal point in every Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
You will find many innovative exhibits including those that showcase the endeavors and achievements of individual balloonists. One can say this is dedicated to their adventurous spirit! If you look closely, you will also find the Albuquerque residents who continue to break records in the ballooning world.
Honoring the Pioneers of Balloon Flight and the Historic Albuquerque Pilots
The Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is named after the two Albuquerque pilots who were pioneers in the long-distance helium balloon flight. If you’ve ever heard about the first successful crossing across the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon in 1978, the crew includes Ben Abruzzo and Maxie Anderson. In addition to their feat in the Atlantic Ocean (Double Eagle II), they were also part of the team that crossed the Pacific Ocean (Double Eagle V) in 1981.
Ben Abruzzo took an interest in hot air ballooning in the early 1970s, so together with other local balloon pilots, they held the first Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. During that time, there were only 13 balloons launching from the shopping mall parking lot. That was definitely the fiesta’s humble beginnings! Today, it is the largest ballooning event and the most photographed event on earth with over 600 balloons. The launch field is about the size of 54 football fields, all put together.
On the other hand, Maxie Anderson was another hot air balloonist and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient. Together with Abruzzo, they decided to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s flight, as well as engaged balloonist Ed Yost to build the Double Eagle.
Truly a Must Stop for Any Balloon Enthusiast: Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
This museum celebrates the many amazing accomplishments of New Mexico balloonists. In fact, the scope of the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is international so you will also learn about adventures and achievements spanning the history of ballooning! It covers the first balloon flight in 1783, and even the hot air and gas balloons that have been used for adventure or scientific experiments.
Enthusiasts will also enjoy learning about how it was used in the arts, warfare, espionage, and space exploration. Take your time in the multi-media presentations and colorful changing exhibits so you don’t miss a detail!
What Can You Expect From the Exhibitions?
You won’t have a dull time going around the museum since the exhibitions are both creative, complete, and interesting! There are a couple of permanent exhibitions that display complete collections of artifacts, images, and stories from the world of ballooning. If you want to start learning about the exploration, discovery, and achievement of balloonists, you can head straight to the main permanent exhibition. Guests will also feel the thrill of hot air ballooning in the hands-on Balloon School exhibition. On the other hand, prepare to be amazed of the record-setters of ballooning in the Hall of Fame!
The Albuquerque International Balloon Museum also has some special exhibitions that highlight the past, present, and future of ballooning. Not to mention, it covers some topics related to the engineering, science, and technology of this aviation and other innovative forms of flight.
First, there is the Weather Lab. Museum visitors can encounter the wind, sun, precipitation, and storms, including the relationship between weather and humanity. The interactive exhibition has many artifacts, touchscreens, weather pods, and other text panels inside the one-of-a-kind area.
Next is the Arctic Air. The special exhibition chronicles the amazing attempt in 1897 to reach the North Pole by balloon. You will find many photographs taken on the journey that tell a detailed story.
Other special exhibitions revolve around First Air Voyages, and the world of solar balloons in Solar Ballooning: Rising with the Sun.
Guests Will Also Find a 4-D Theater Inside the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
Tim Anderson 4-D Theater plays two excellent videos, which are shown back-to-back:
- The World’s Largest Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. This is a four-minute, 2-D film about everyone’s favorite balloon rally, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
- My Balloon Ride. This five-minute, 4-D video shortly follows the Balloon Fiesta and shows clips from Rainbow Ryders, Albuquerque’s largest balloon ride operator. The scenes capture inflation, lift-off, flight, landing, and chase crew operations.
After Your Tour, You Can Bring Home Memorabilia From the Shop
The Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Foundation also operates a shop full of interesting items. It features both traditional and non-traditional gift items with a bright colorful balloon theme.
There are bags, magnets, items of clothing, books, and ornaments that your family will surely love. The regional artist corner also includes some photo cards, wall décor, clothing, and other pieces made by talented New Mexico artists.
This Museum Shoppe is open year-round. The Foundation uses all proceeds to support the education and exhibit programs of the Museum. If you buy, you are also helping them with their good cause!
Albuquerque International Balloon Museum Details
Regular Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Wednesday to Sunday (closed during Mondays, Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years)
$6 for adults (Get $1 discount with valid NM ID)
$4 for seniors
$3 for children and teens aged 6 to 17
Free for museum members and children 5 and under
Note: The Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is currently closed. This is due to the public health order, and as part of the management’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus. You may check the website from time to time to stay updated on its re-opening.
In the meantime, you may take advantage of the live weekly presentations
Location: 9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113
If you’ve been to Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, we’d be happy to hear about your most favorite experience!
Tour Albuquerque like a local by reading this article: You Will Find Endless Pretty and Instagrammable Spots in This Garden in Albuquerque. You may also Check Out These 10 Things You Only See In New Mexico
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